Private sector companies have an important role to play in addressing the global food crisis according to Nestlé Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke.
In a speech at the 'Feeding the World’ Economist Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr Bulcke said that the increasing world population, food waste, worldwide water shortages and the issue of using food for biofuels among others, all impact on food security.
Despite the challenges, there are ways and solutions to address this, he emphasised.
Governments, public and private sectors and civil society all need to work together to address the issue of food security, Mr Bulcke continued.
“With an estimated 70% of global poverty in rural areas, investment in building agricultural capacity is crucial,” he added.
Working with farmers
Mr Bulcke explained how Nestlé is addressing these issues.
The company works with nearly 600,000 farmers worldwide by providing technical assistance, forming partnerships and giving financial support.
He outlined how its ‘farm to factory’ initiative Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé supports farmers and promotes sustainable development in agriculture globally. It is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative which unites all interested food companies, primary processors and traders.
Mr Bulcke highlighted Nestlé’s milk district model which dates back to the 1870s and is now active in 30 countries worldwide.
The company’s direct milk sourcing programmes help to address rural development and poverty in many developing countries.
Nestlé’s partnerships with agencies such as the East African Dairy Development Board help dairy farmers to boost sustainable milk production in Kenya and Uganda.
And the company’s investment in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and the Nescafé Plan shows its commitment to improve the supply chain, provide technical expertise, support farmer training and enhance living conditions for farming communities.
This work is part of what Nestlé calls ‘Creating Shared Value’, an approach to business that aims to create value for the company’s shareholders at the same time as for those communities where it operates.
Feeding the World
The ‘Feeding the World’ event is hosted by Economist Conferences – headed by The Economist newspaper.
The summit brings together over 200 senior executives from around the world representing agribusiness, food manufacturing, policy, international agencies, science and the NGO community.
It aims to provide action plans and new solutions to food security challenges.
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